Whether you simply want to be greener, or you have a lung condition like COPD or asthma, or you may have young children or pets and want to avoid any chemical exposure for them.
While many commercial products call themselves “green” or “environmentally friendly” the following products are often right in your kitchen, pantry, or laundry room already. Learning to use them in a different way might change the way you keep your home clean. You will certainly be breathing cleaner air and avoid the fugue of chemical fumes.
1. Lemon Juice. This is one of my favorites because I love the smell of lemons. Artificial lemon fragrance appeals because it gives the sense of being clean, but I’d rather use fresh lemons instead. I use lemon juice to clean grease, polish metals, and help to lighten stains and brighten laundry. For your laundry, dab straight lemon juice on a stain before laundering. To brighten your entire load, add between 1/4 and 1/2 cup of lemon juice to the rinse cycle. To work on metal, cut a lemon in half, sprinkle it with baking soda and rub it on the metal. This works on brass, copper, bronze, and aluminum.
2. Baking Soda. Baking soda isn’t just for baking. It is one of the best odor neutralizers you can find. It cleans the sink in both the kitchen and bath, the tub, oven, and countertops. Sprinkle it on your carpet before vacuuming, but make sure you don’t have a HEPA filter on your vacuum as the baking soda will clog the vacuum. Line kitty litter boxes with a cup before adding litter. Have a stinky drain? Pour down half a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of white vinegar. Let it bubble for ten or fifteen minutes, then rinse with hot water. Make a soft scrub for counters, tubs, or stove-tops by mixing a little baking soda with dish soap. Any animal accidents should be covered with baking soda, removed when it becomes discolored, then replaced until it no longer becomes discolored.
3. Distilled White Vinegar. This is a powerhouse of an all-purpose cleaner. It disinfects, removes odors, and removes dirt. It dissolves hard water stains and scale, removes gummy residue from stickers. It is fabulous for cleaning windows and works very well in the laundry to remove any detergent from your clothing. Washing your floors with vinegar is infinitely safer than using ammonia if you have pets or children who walk or crawl on your floors.
4. Cheap Vodka. This is one of my secret cleaning ingredients. It cleans eyeglasses better than any other cleaner out there and when I need to use it as a disinfectant, I peel the skin from one or two grapefruit, place them in a canning jar, cover it with vodka for a couple of weeks. Place the resulting yellow liquid in a spray bottle and this now becomes the most natural yet powerful disinfectant spray for both kitchens and bathrooms. I do not use any other counter spray or sanitizer after discovering this secret. Hint: take a little spray bottle of this with you when you travel to disinfect a hotel room to stay healthy while traveling.